I believe pitching is the end result of preparation and hard work in the off season. I feel off season conditioning and a good long toss program should enable pitchers to keep balance and good mechanics from the first pitch to their very last. Pitching on the mound should be a mental game of perception in which the hitter perceives the pitcher as a passive strike thrower, when in reality the prepared pitcher is an aggressive power pitcher with a game plan and goals of how to approach and get every hitter out before that hitter steps into the box. I believe with a good game plan pitchers should maintain mental toughness regardless of the “stuff” they have that particular day and be able to take each outing and particular pitch as a learning experience and “live in the moment” as if every pitch were their last. Conditioning and agility and core strength of a pitcher I feel is essential to getting up on the mound and being successful as it will enable the athlete to know he is capable of at any moment throwing the pitch directly in the location desired not to the hitter but through the catcher with the proper stride length and body balance/velocity desired and with the best mechanics to protect the arm as possible. Through mirror drills, bullpens, and long toss the pitcher should be able to know their own body and be able to make adjustments on the mound to throw at minimum 2 strikes to every 3rd baseball delivered.Pitching on a mound in a game situation is nothing more of a mental game of getting ahead with a first strike on hitters, and further becomes a chess match of keeping the hitters off balance and throwing the most optimal pitches to get either strikeouts or ground ball outs. Depending on the pitcher I feel any given day there should be more groundouts than flyouts and with a good defense/infield a starting pitcher should have no problem throwing 6-7 innings. The goal of the getting the first strike on hitters is to never be predictable from one pitch to the next, yet remaining confident when the count is not in one’s favor. Pitching on the other hand can be as simple as throwing a baseball through a tire for target practice. Whats your take? Thanks for reading. Feel free to comment or reply.
As the year ends Bullpen Domination would like the baseball community, players, fans, and aspiring athletes to reflect back on what a privilege it has been to enjoy another year of America’s game. Baseball for fun or entertainment is endless and the excitement and bonds it makes is insurmountable. So as the year ends I’d like to say I’m thankful that I got to spend another year working and playing baseball and helping coach the next generation of big leaguers. I would like to remind all that in the coming year to give back as much as possible to the next generation, be it time, equipment, or advice. #GOASTROS
Here is a story about Austin Wates of the Houston Astros who is “giving back” through mentoring.
Bill Buckner the guy who let Red Sox Nation down in the World Series became infamous for not getting his butt down on that ground ball in game The baseball itself also later became famous eventually selling in auction to Charlie Sheen the winning bidder who paid $93,000 dollars for the ball. 2 things made famous for one simple common mistake often made by infielders when fielding ground balls. Number 1 priority when fielding a ground ball is find the direct route to where the ball is headed and GET BEHIND THE BALL!!!! Buckner did not get behind the ball and instead let the topspin roller dictate where it was headed on its own. Its much easier to “read” a ground ball if you are behind the ball and with your butt down so that you can push through the ball when making a play on it. I can see it now, Buckner sees the ball…makes a dive and lays down in front of the ball, ball is blocked by Buckners body and he grabs the ball and underhands it to the pitcher who came to cover the bag….OUT! And the game is over. Funny thing though, if that had happened just how much awareness would we have been about getting your butt down and getting behind the ball? I salute Buckner and “he gave it his best shot, and came up a Buck short!” You can’t go back and change history, but you can learn from his mistake and 1. Get behind the ball and 2. keep your butt down and field the ground ball in front of your body. Thanks Buckner!
Lance Berkman is the “Volunteer Assistant” for the Rice Owls currently. After seeing him for the majority of his career playing in Houston and St. Louis, I would no doubt like to see him as the designated hitter as the Astros embark new beginnings in the American League. My greatest memories of Lance were the game winning home runs he had against the Cardinals and the dominance he had over relief pitcher Ray King. I also remember the first All Star Game ever held in Houston and being in attendance as Lance hit homer after homer from the right side of the plate. Often when opposing teams would face Lance it was the usual “bring in the lefty” which forced Lance to hit from the right side of the plate of which isn’t his natural side. Still he pummeled homer after homer during that homerun derby and came in second and represented Houston nicely. Another memory I have of Lance is when my grandmother told me of him making an appearance at Baseball USA here in Houston a number of years ago. I showed up and see Lance speaking to a crowd of 200 or so youth little league players giving his testimony about God and among other things, hitting. He explained how one of the simplest things such as hitting off a batting tee could produce the greatest of results and how it helped him to adjust to being a switch hitter. He also told us how his dad pretty much forced him to practice hours after hours at the skill of hitting right handed and how Lance years later appreciated it greatly that he had developed the asset/tool. So as the new year is upon us I’d like to see the Houston Astros sort of bring in a little of the old and give Lance Berkman an opportunity to get a few at bats in the young line up and provide a little leadership, just as Bagwell and Biggio did when he was developing. Berkman came back from knee surgery with the Cardinals and pummeled 30 home runs and got a game saving hit in the World Series to help the Cardinals win a ring. Now I’d like to see him captivate Astros fans one more season. Thanks for reading… Whats your favorite Lance Berkman memory? Reply and comment. Feel free to share.
Most pitchers reach opposite and equal at some point in their delivery. If they didn’t they would either throw it into the sky or throw into the ground. So wouldn’t you agree that the most simple approach to pitching begins with a balanced start on the mound, a balanced simple leg kick and keeping everything top center on the mound ready to explode inertia to the hitter. So the phase of pitching I’m describing today is basically the standing on the mound in a “athletic position”.
This position is one in which the knees are perhaps slightly bent but the pitcher could essentially stand there all day and someone could not walk over and simply push him off the mound as if he were standing straight up with no stability. From here the most simple thing a pitcher can do to maintain balance and simplicity is either “side step stride” toward the hitter and begin towards the power “T” or lift the lead leg straight up to the pitcher’s highest balanced point.
At this point things starts happening and we will go into that another day…Today’s message, simple leads to directional. You can’t go wrong by standing athletic on the mound and lifting your lead leg up centrally. God made us with only our body therefore there is no extra torque that can be generated by swinging your leg back, looking to the sky (Fernando Venezuela style) or any other of the various strategies. Pitching is repetition and to throw the highest amount of likely “strikes” one must keep it simple and leave the room for error to a minimum.